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Five Million Years to Earth


There are those films from your childhood that collapse when you see them again and there are those that still are a hell of a lot of fun. FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH is a great example of the latter species.

My brother and I first saw it on TV as an afternoon horror flick in the early seventies and luckily its been preserved by Anchor Bay on DVD as part of their Hammer Films collection under its original UK title, "Quartermass and the Pit".

Quartermass is a legendary character in the UK, with TV series and movies around his adventures spanning the mid 50's to 2015 in Europe.

In this installment, a London subway project discovers a massive object and prehistoric bones, and our otherworldly/space expert (think early X-Files) Professor Quartermass digs deeper and realizes the object is not from Earth.

With a low budget but very clever writing and good direction from Roy Ward Baker (A Night To Remember) there's plenty of spooky suspense and building dread as the object's contents are revealed.

Andrew Keir (Cleopatra, Rob Roy) is a great Quartermass and Julian Glover (For Your Eyes Only, The Empire Strikes Back) is terrific as a Colonel with no interest in the supernatural.

By the time locust like creatures and demonic overtones take hold of London, I realized this sixties Hammer classic is probably a big reason that I loved Tobe Hooper's bizarre "Lifeforce" in 1985. Its very close to the same story, with 100 times the budget, much better special effects but 1/100 the story clarity.

This is a fun & nostalgic trip back to a time when the scares were less graphic but no less suspenseful and good storytelling could make up for a lack of dollars.

Turn off the lights and fire up the nostalgia. FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH gets an appreciative B.

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